Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday after becoming the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist, breaking the country’s 97-year drought.
Diaz credited her historic win in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to God and to the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
The 30-year-old topped the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting competition after an overall lift of 224 kilograms — an olympic record.
After winning, the four-time Olympian praised God and lifted up Our Lady’s Miraculous Medal she wore around her neck while shouting “Thank You, Lord” repeatedly.
That gesture by Diaz has since gone viral.
In a virtual press conference Tuesday, the weightlifter from Zamboanga shared the story behind the miraculous medal and what it meant for her.
“This was given to me by my friend. They prayed the novena for 9 days before my competition. I also prayed the novena,” Diaz said.
“It is a sign of their faith and my faith to Mama Mary and Jesus Christ,” she added.
In her instagram, she posted a story with a text that reads, “Thank you for praying!”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has joined the whole nation in celebrating Diaz’s victory.
“We admire her devotion to the Blessed Mother as she carried in her victory her great faith in God,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President.
“Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and her deep Catholic faith,” he added.